As a fan of Power Rangers in my younger days and a huge fan of tactics games like Fire Emblem I had my eye on Chroma Squad since it was first announced. It always seemed like the perfect mashup of several of my interests, and my expectations were relatively high. On the surface, it meets those expectations easily. It embraces the Power Rangers design and story telling philosophies and does a decent job as a light tactics game. The problem is that once you dig beneath the surface you realize there’s nothing else there, and there’s no depth to keep the game going. It relies heavily on the Power Rangers appeal, and your decision in investing in this game should hinge mostly on that aspect of it.
The premise of Chroma Squad is that five stunt actors have had enough of their moronic director and set off to form their own Power Rangers-esque show that they control. You guide these five actors through the creation of their new studio and show, which is fully customizable. The idea is pretty sound, but after a little while, it blurs the lines between this being a television show and the events actually happening. That will work for some people, but it started to lose me as the first of five seasons of the show wrapped up, and never really got me back into it. I would have preferred if they had maintained more consistency throughout the game.
The gameplay is kept relatively simple and serves as a good introduction to the tactics genre. The game relies on a grid-based movement system where you assign actions to characters one at a time. You have a few choices for each character, and rather than having them attack directly you can have them provide a boost to other characters to move them across the map faster, or have them team up and all attack a specific bad guy at one time. There are enough options to prevent the gameplay from being totally repetitive, but playing in bursts longer than an hour or so at a time is not recommended due to the lack of variety. The game does try to keep things fresh by offering rewards for winning with certain conditions met, but these are optional. There is also a separate mini-game when you summon your team’s giant mech to fight the monster of the week, and sadly this is a significant step-down gameplay wise. For what should be a truly epic fight (by daytime television standards, anyway), the mech combat gets stale quickly.
Chroma Squad is an excellent game to introduce players to the tactics genre, or for younger gamers to enjoy a decent Power Rangers experience on the Xbox One. Your long term enjoyment of the title will rely mostly on your love of the source material. Tactics genre fans will get a few hours of fun out of the game before wanting to return to meatier experiences. Players who have been following Power Rangers and similar shows will find a lot more here, and can expect around twelve to fourteen hours of gameplay for a single playthrough. Fortunately, Chroma Squad is priced at a reasonable $14.99 so even players who only put a few hours into the game will still get their money’s worth. For what it is Chroma Squad is an entertaining diversion, and it is clearly made with a lot of love by Behold Studios. I can only hope that they take their lessons learned from this title and create a sequel with more depth for tactics fans.
Chroma Squad on Xbox One
- Good introduction game to the tactics genre.
- Faithful interpretation of the Power Rangers style.
- Quirky, enjoyable humor.
- Fair pricing.
- Lacks enough depth for tactics-genre veterans.
- Controls aren't ported well from the PC version.
- Storytelling is messy and inconsistent.